Incredible Machine, The
Informs viewer of the experimental advances in audiovisual communications techniques Bell Telephone Laboratories' researchers are experimenting with: computer graphics, synthesized speech, computer-made movies and music, and designing prototypical devices.
Producer Murphy (Owen) ProductionsSponsor American Telephone & Telegraph Co. (AT&T), Bell Telephone LaboratoriesAudio/Visual sound, color
20:27:20:29 CU man working on 1980s computer screen tracing line with digital pen over graph on screen, sheet music above graph, audio track jumbled notes corresponding to music written on computer screen.
20:27:39:28 man holds pen to digital draught table tracing lines that appear on black computer screen in green.
20:27:44:21 CU typewriter typing random letters on page, camera pan out to man who says “nice”, computer in robotic voice repeats over and over again word “nice”; CU black computer screen producing line in steps corresponding to intonation of computer’s pronunciation of word “nice.”
20:28:02:27 Two design engineers working on Graphic-1 computer; CU disembodied engineer’s hand presses pen to round scope touch-screen, drawing points on screen; men draw circuits directly on cathode ray tube screen; computer screen flashes “Data Incomplete On Amplifier.”
20:30:22:03 CU red tinted shot of disembodied finger presses button labeled “Execute;” CU two rows of blinking yellow lights; flashing graph on computer screen.
20:30:34:23 CU disembodied hands, on holding red pencil, the other strip of film; man with large moustache looks at strip of film and asks man at chalkboard holding piece of chalk questions; men are discussing idea for early digital movie.
20:31:37:17 Great footage from early Beflicks (Bell Laboratories Flicks) digital movie.
20:31:51:09 Man gives projectionist reels for Beflicks movie; VS man loads film reel in projector, focuses lens; CU disembodied hand punches buttons, each only momentarily in focus as it is punched, fingers press rewind then play button; CU film on projector begins to wind. Excerpted footage from Beflicks films, graphic in first frame has text which reads “The language speaks of pictures as mosaic;” great footage from 1980s digital movie, abstract moving images and letters, text “Man and…His world; Terre des Hommes; El Hombre Y Su Mundo; Der Mensch und Seine Welt” in abstract moving patters, highly pixilated material.
20:33:28:22 CU filmmaker with moustache talks about his dreams of making digital movies; great sound bites “I’ll be able to sit some place, maybe in a railroad station and write a movie, or maybe even pick up a telephone eventually and write a movie.”
20:33:25:07 Simple graphic of rotating sphere with suitcase-like object in its orbit, clock in top right corner of frame.
20:34:50:14 Man and woman seated behind project at table, man presses button on table turning off the lights, then turns on the movie projector; great footage of op-art film with man perceptual effects.
20:35:37:04 CU black and white page filled with small strange combination of simple symbols including: swastika, car, building, American flag, star of David, cross, cat, mask, peace symbol, television set, airplane; camera pans out to show small symbols transform into picture of two flying birds.
20:36:06:21 Great shot sifting through sheets of punched cards producing electronic music, row of flashing buttons on bottom of machine; CU man using pen to write directly on cathode ray tube monitor to program music; standard music notation on top of screen and geometric shaped graphed in center of screen; man does demonstration for another man on 1980s electronic music computer, computer plays music and sings with robotic voice “Daisy Daisy give me your answer true, I’m half crazy all for the love of you..”
20:37:33:24 CU spinning film reel; CU digital produced graph of sound wave of sound on audio track; great shot two men wearing black framed glasses sitting behind reels of film.
20:38:44:27 Great shot of plaster model of head in profile with open mouth, camera pan around model which is split in two and looks into exposed internal portion of model of human head; CU two spinning red reels of film; audio track robot voice speaks Shakespeare quote “To be or not to be, that is the question…”; CU rows of blinking “Op Code” lights; CU disembodied hand writes with chalk on blackboard various consonant letters of alphabet; woman brings man writing on blackboard cup of coffee; man writes on blackboard in chalk “I like my coffee black” and underlines word “black”, CU disembodied woman’s hand types on typewriter; woman flips switch on control board of switches, audio track monotone robot voice says line “I like my coffee black.”
20:41:06:05 CU man looks at film on reel.
Written and Directed by Paul Cohen.